Monthly Archives: September 2014

All Men Are Not Created Equalizer

Denzel Washington & Chloe Moretz in THE EQUALIZER.

“A man can be an artist at anything,” Christopher Walken said in Man on Fire, speaking of Denzel Washington‘s burnt-out assassin character, Joyhn (!) Creasy. “Creasy’s art is death. He’s about to paint his masterpiece.”

Ten years later, Washington is playing another regret-haunted killer who returns to the warpath when a young girl to whom he feels a protective attachment is hurt. But the regret-haunted killer he plays in The Equalizer is a more personable and approachable guy, one who drinks special tea instead of booze. Are you not entertained? My NPR review is here.

Wig Time: Marie Antoinette, reviewed.

My review of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company‘s production of David Adjmi‘s Marie Antoinette, starring the great Kimberly Gilbert, is in today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free.

Risible Business: Believe Me, reviewed.

Alex Russell summons his best Young Tom Cruise in "Believe Me." So does everyone else.

I reviewed cowriter/director Will Bakke‘s uneven phony-evangelicals comedy Believe Me for The Dissolve.

WaPo book review: Without Frontiers: The Life and Music of Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel Without FrontiersI was pleased when Ron Charles, the Washington Post‘s book critic and one the Style section’s very best writers, reached out to ask if I’d like to review a trio of upcoming auto/biographies — that’s two autobios, one bio — by artists. The first of those, in RE: Daryl Easlea‘s new biography of prog-rock provocateur-turned-adult-rock-minimalist Peter Gabriel, is the Sunday Arts section and online now.

Writing it last weekend inspired me to play some Gabriel albums for the first time in many, many years. Easlea repeats the conventional wisdom about how Gabriel’s last album to have any notable chart impact, 1992’s Us, was the denser, more difficult follow-up to his five-million-selling So. I loved Us when I was in high school, which gives you a hint what kind of 16-year-old I was. Most of it still sounds good to me.

Devise & Consent: Toast, reviewed.

Nope nope nope nope. And you're supposed to pay to do this!

Buy a ticket so you can spend your Sunday doing… this?

My review of Toast, dog & pony dc’s ambitious but unfocused — and deeply annoying — new performance-art-as-corporate-encounter-group piece is in today’s Washington City Paper, available wherever finer alt-weeklies are given away for free. Also reviewed: Taffety Punk’s very fine The Devil in His Own Words.

Miss Sogyny by Any Other Name: No Good Deed, reviewed.


Stars/executive producers Idris Elba & Taraji P. Henson should know better.

The thrice-delayed, not-screened-for-critics thriller No Good Deed opened at No. 1 this weekend. Box Office Mojo reports its audience was 60 percent female and 59 percent over age 30. I’m an over-30 straight white dude, so WTF do I know, but to me the film — which was written by a white woman and directed by a white guy — felt incredibly insulting to its target audience of black women. In my Village Voice review, I tried to unpack the cynical, unkind assumptions it makes about the primary demographic paying to see it. Without making the piece as much of a drag to read as the movie was to watch.

I Don’t Think You’re Ready for This Vile Jelly: King Lear and Spark, reviewed.

Joseph Marcell as King Lear in the Globe's touring production.

Joseph Marcell as King Lear.

My review of the Globe Theater’s stripped-down touring production of King Lear — the play that inspired Ira Glass to proclaim “Shakespeare sucks”! — is in today’s Washington City Paper. I also reviewed Theatre Alliance’s production of Caridad Svich’s Spark.

FURTHER READING: I reviewed Synetic Theatre’s wordless King Lear in 2011. And I interviewed Ira Glass, who was and remains one of my heroes, in April 2008.

Cruel to Be Kind: The Homestretch, reviewed.

Roque (center), one of the three subjects of "The Homestretch," is too lucky to make a good poster child for homeless youth.

Roque (center), one of the three subjects of “The Homestretch,” is too lucky to make a good poster child for homeless youth.

Here’s my review of the disappointing Kartemquin Films’ documentary The Homestretch for The Dissolve. I made a boneheaded mistake in the version of this where I filed wherein I ascribed the phrase “cruel to kind” to Nick Lowe, not to Hamlet — even though I’d already referenced Hamlet earlier in the review, and in fact, the other piece I filed the day I filed this one was a review of King Lear. Embarrassing. Editors sometimes save your neck.